Austin ISD develops district technology plan

Bringing technology into classrooms is the focus of Austin ISD's districtwide technology plan, which the board of trustees discussed at its Dec. 1 work session.

The District Technology Planning Committee, which includes teachers, students, community members, and district staff, met this fall to develop an implementation plan and its vision for integrating technology into AISD classrooms, Chief Academic Officer Pauline Dow said. Dow explained the district has aimed to use a holistic, multi-departmental and innovative process to develop the plan.

The committee is scheduled to give the board a draft of the technology plan in January for review, followed by a revised draft in February for possible approval, according to board documents.

Trustee Robert Schneider pointed out there is often a relatively short life span, usually of 18 to 24 months, for most new devices and technology, so the system of acquiring those devices should be streamlined.

"We really need to find a way to get that technology into kids' hands and teachers' hands as quickly as possible," he said.

Trustee Ann Teich asked how the committee is exploring a "bring-your-own device" model that has worked well and been proven cost-effective for other districts, wherein students are allowed to bring their own devices such as iPads to class if they have them.

Dow said committee has had a lot of discussion on how to work toward making sure there is "a device for every student," but nothing has been set in stone yet. Her presentation noted one focus of the committee is ensuring the plan does not "exacerbate existing inequities" in schools and the community.

Working with teachers to make sure they are involved and engaged in the plan is crucial, trustee Amber Elenz said.

"This is a learning initiative and not a hardware purchase," she said.

Partnering with chambers of commerce to develop a "consortium" of companies that can support AISD technology strategies with their resources could be a benefit to the district, trustee Cheryl Bradley said.

Trustee Jayme Mathias noted at a recent Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce event, data showed dissonance between what children in local schools are choosing to study compared with the types of available jobs in Central Texas. Mathias said he looks forward to seeing more details outlined in the plan.


gavel on books
Judge: Pflugerville lawsuit attempting to prevent ESD 17 annexation election gets dismissed

According to a Sept. 13 memorandum from Travis County’s 200th Civil District Court Judge Jessica Mangrum, the lawsuit has been dismissed, and the court will not be ruling on the temporary injunction.

The brewery will remain open as changes are made. (Courtesy Kelly Meyer)
New owners of New Braunfels Brewing Company hope to combine original offerings with new creations

Brian and Jacklyn Hebert plan to continue serving some customer favorite brews while incorporating new styles and flavors.

Shoppers can customize bouquets with additions like this Batman emblem. (Photos by Zara Flores/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local florist Kyle Flower Shop awarded best small business by the city

Kyle Flower Shop sell custom floral arrangements, succulents and small ficus trees.

Screen shot of Dr. Desmar Walkes speaking
Austin ICUs remain crowded with COVID-19 patients, delaying some critical care

Within the past week, there was a waiting list of patients to be transferred into Austin-area ICUs, Austin Public Health leaders said.

Garffer came out on top in a region that included 57 school districts. (Photo courtesy NBISD)
Veramendi Elementary School teacher Melissa Garffer named Region 13 Teacher of the Year

Garffer came out on top in a region that included 57 school districts.

The city of Austin this summer cleared four unregulated homeless encampments and shifted dozens of residents into shelters. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plan to house thousands of Austin's homeless people taking shape, but outlook for local success, project funding still unclear

The strategy's first housing benchmark fell short in June, and updates on how the estimated $515 million needed for housing and services will be spent are overdue.

A rendering shows the new Deep Eddy Psychotherapy office coming to Southwest Austin. (Courtesy of Deep Eddy Psychotherapy)
Bubble tea, therapy and three other new businesses coming to Southwest Austin

A new salon, day care, therapy office and other businesses are coming soon to Southwest Austin.

 Busy Nurse's Station In Modern Hospital
Williamson County seeking input on community health needs

The Williamson County and Cities Health District is holding two focus group sessions through September with the goal of collecting public feedback on community health needs throughout the county.

Urbana at Cottonwood Creek will feature hybrid single-family homes. (Courtesy city of Hutto)
Hutto annexes several parcels for development

Hutto City Council annexed two parcels of land totaling more than 300 acres into the city for future development.

The adopted budget's expenses total $54.5 million. (Courtesy city of Hutto)
Hutto officials adopt $0.536448 tax rate, creating little to no change for property taxes

After weeks of discussion, Hutto City Council has finalized the city’s budget and ad valorem tax rate for fiscal year 2021-22, which will begin Oct. 1.

The 3.27-acre tract of land will be the site of several apartment buildings. (Courtesy city of Hutto)
3.27 acres in Hutto rezoned to allow for construction of apartments

Hutto City Council rezoned 3.27 acres near CR 137 and FM 1660 from general commercial to multifamily use.